The Lehman Trilogy
- 3h 43m
The story of Lehman Brothers, from their beginnings as cotton brokers before the Civil War to the company's involvement in the financial crisis of 2008.The story of Lehman Brothers, from their beginnings as cotton brokers before the Civil War to the company's involvement in the financial crisis of 2008.The story of Lehman Brothers, from their beginnings as cotton brokers before the Civil War to the company's involvement in the financial crisis of 2008.
'The Lehman Trilogy' turned out to be a thrilling experience, one of the best recent National Theatre Live performances. Despite the play being a less familiar one compared to most plays performed as part of the National Theatre Live series, this performance still managed to be better than a good deal of these live transmissions/performances of the more familiar plays. What could have been potentially dull and muddled in the wrong hands, being a long production, being a play that most may not be familiar with beforehand and not everybody being aware of the subject and the Lehman Brothers turned out to be one of the most entertaining and most powerful productions for anything seen recently. Am not kidding saying that.
It is wonderfully acted for one thing. Only three characters and actors throughout, which means that it is quite intimate, and these characters are interesting and well contrasted and acted to perfection by Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. Beale is especially good, his body language, gestures, eyes and facial expressions wonderfully varied and telling so much, it does leave one riveted. Miles plays it straight and is serious without ever being dull and coolly confident. Godley, the least familiar actor of the three to me, brings the most surprises, was not expecting him to be so mischievous and in a way that was amusing and not misplaced.
Beale, Miles and Godley have great chemistry between them that has a lot of nuance and variety. Whether more comedic, not being all doom and gloom, or more serious, showing that a subject like this is not treated as a joke. They are helped too by that the play itself is fascinating and brilliantly written, almost as good as the classics often performed as part of this series. This is how to take a not so familiar subject and one that not everybody will find it to be their cup of tea, and make it entertaining, with a balance of tension, and powerful. As well as hardly out of date and remarkably accessible.
One worries hearing of the structure, the play told in a narrative-like way through three sections detailing 150 years of history and how they started off flourished, that it would not always be easy to follow. Not so. It is actually quite simple and intimate in atmosphere, yet kept engrossing by the quality of the performances and interaction as well as Sam Mendes' classy and confident direction. The production values are elegant in their simplicity too, made even more interesting by ingenious use of a cyclorama that is symbolic and not distracting. The music is also kept simple and is not used too much, sometimes like a character of its own.
Concluding, brilliant. An easy 10/10
- Mar 13, 2020